Announcing Scryings

In the darkest libraries of Tolaria, a twisted mage quest the palantir for stories of Dominian magic. The visions create rifts in time and space, revealing empires of the past and future, planes long forgotten, and the Dominian Ice Age alongside the lush landscapes of Jamuraa a millennia later. A wanderlust to this reality can only be quenched by Scryings.


Release date / Full spoiler: December 28th
Set size: 116 (40 common, 35 uncommon, 41 rare)
Origins: Fallen Empires, Ice Age, Homelands, Alliances, Mirage, Visions, Weatherlight
Legality: Occasional and at organizers' discretion; e.g. at n00bcon 12


...

The expansions from the tail end of 1994 up to the middle of 1997 have a certain silver-age feel. And they bring cards that would be sweet to re-evaluate with our contemporary understanding of Magic. But even disregarding any blatant anachronisms, legalizing any given of those sets could also come with some baggage. There's a lot of spice in Alliances, but is giving control decks access to Force of Will worth it?

So an "old school Future Sight" or "reversed Chronicles" seemed like the most interesting approach. Eagle-eyed statisticians may recognize the set size of 116 cards as a subtle wink to just Chronicles. For those of you eager to discern more on what Scryings will contain, here's a few of the constraints I used when selecting the cards:
  • Each color will have the same number of cards, distributed at the same rarity. 
  • Rarity in Scryings is the same as the rarity of the cards in the original set.
  • The focus should not be to make existing tier1 decks better, but rather to fill holes in mid-tier strategies or create new ones.
  • To maintain a somewhat uniform style within the set, no cards with the old tap symbol will be included.
  • No new keywords will be introduced in the set.
  • We don't want to release cards that are "obvious restrictions", but rather encourage exploration. That said, a card having been banned or restricted in its heyday could still be fair game today.
  • Cards that create a lot of consistency could alter the old school "rythm", so we should tread careful with cantrips, tutors and the likes.
The spoiler season starts now, and goes on until December 28th when we will host a (very small) 8-person release draft in Gothenburg, streamed by Gordon at the Wak-Wak twitch channel. Why so small a release event? Because building boosters is tedious, so I only made a little over 40 of them to cover all the rares. Still had to acquire about 14 of each common and a little over four of each uncommon to randomize properly. Turns out it quickly adds up.

I currently have a lot of commons. And there's a random spoiler I guess ;)

The boosters will mainly be used at the release draft, though a few packs will be mailed to people late in the spoiler season to crack and hopefully get a bunch of random spoilers. After the set is revealed everyone who is interested is of course very welcome to "repack" their own boosters to have sealed events or use in sealed leagues. The boosters contains eleven commons, three uncommons, and one rare.


The "reprint policy" I will personally enforce in tournaments where Scryings is legal is that the card must come from the original set, however alternate art from that same set is OK if such a thing exists. So for e.g. the Deadly Insect above, even though the version in Scryings boosters and spoilers will be Alliances v2, the Alliances v1 version is also fair game. The Mercadian Masques or Beatdown versions would however be frowned upon.

The spoiler schedule will look something like this (though I haven't confirmed the dates yet with everybody, and this is oldschool, so it is possible that some will be slightly off):

9 nov.     Brothers of Fire (at the Team World Cup)
11 nov.   Music City Oldschool
13 nov.   Argivian Restoration
15 nov.   Mike van Dyke (Beasts of the Bay)
16 nov.   Jimmy Cooney (at Sarpadian Cup)
17 nov.   BetaSedgeTroll
18 nov.   Brothers of Fire
19 nov.   Dwarven Warriors
21 nov.   Urborg Buffet
22 nov.   Unlimited Adventures
23 nov.   Raging Bull Series
25 nov.   AlphaBetaOldschool
27 nov.   GeoCities of Brass
29 nov.   Shuffle, Cut, Ante
30 nov.   Stockholm in a Bottle
1 dec.     Djinns & Dragons
2 dec.     Gaea's Avengers OS Assembly
3 dec.     End of turn, draw a card
4 dec.     Premodern Magic
5 dec.     Brothers of Fire
6 dec.     The Sentinel
7. dec.    Tales from la Tundra
8 dec.     Raging Bull Series
9 dec.     Oldschooltutor
10 dec.   Wak-Wak
11 dec.   Austrian Lions
12 dec.   Knights of Thorn (at Gathering the Knights of Thorn)
13. dec.  @Oldschoolmtg
14 dec.   Spice Files (booster)
16 dec.   All Tings Considered (booster)
18 dec.   52-week Beta (booster)
20 dec.   Flippin' Orbs (booster)
21 dec.   NOSMTG (at Highlander stream)
22 dec.   Timmy Talks (booster)
24 dec.   Oldschool Blag
...
28 dec.    Sealed event, streamed at Wak-Wak's Twitch channel

...and I'll assume at this point that we'll just drop a one-of spoiler every day here between Christmas and the "release" the 28th. There may be additional spoilers before then as well, as there have been requests from players/organizers that mainly use Facebook groups as their platform and I haven't taken those in account yet. All cards will be gathered at this page on the blag a day or so after they've been spoiled.

Oh, and I have a proper spoiler for today as well. For anyone who has followed my forays into Time Capsule variants of 93/94 - or just any tournament where Homelands have been legal - this could possibly be the least surprising card in the set. Green really needs some resources in Oldschool, and few robs the rich in the way of Primal Order.


Primal Order is the great equalizer, punishing the greedy while leaving the peasants mostly alone. That's the idea at least. Usually it is far more sinister, as you build your deck around abusing the synergy. I'm not sure what the best Primal Order deck looks like, but I did have a bunch of fun (and a winning record) with this pile at a tournament that allowed Fallen Empires and Homelands last summer:


The only things I can say for certain about this deck is that the basic idea of Green Parfait seems to work, and that this particular deck was poorly constructed without good answers to beatdown nor other common strategies. I blame building too hastily. Still, resolving a Primal Order and just dealing three a turn is occasionally enough to race anyway.

Apart from acing it in "Green Distress", Primal Order could be a solid alternative wincon in a myriad of different midrange or beatdown decks. And if anyone ever gets Enchantress to work, I could see it there as well. But here's the fun part; I really don't know. I have consciously tried to avoid brewing with the cards in Scryings before they are revealed. Maybe Primal Order will do nothing, and maybe the threat of a continuous Price of Progress will force people to reconsider how to construct their mana bases. The truth is probably somewhere in between. And Primal Order of course isn't remotely the peak of power level in the set.

I'm very much looking forward to see what will happen in the coming months. And it excites me that so many people seem on board with trying this thing out, expressing solid interest in this unusual spoiler season. I actually expected a little more harsh feedback from some of the people that will have to re-evalute the available cards for n00bcon 12, but so far the reactions have been surprisingly positive. This has been a long time coming. I hope it will be a fun ride!

Kommentarer

  1. Looking so much forward to this!
    Love the booster design, really sweet. You should laters release the template :P

    SvaraRadera
    Svar
    1. Thanks man!
      And yeah, that could be a good idea for people wanting to hold their own sealed events :)

      Radera
  2. Wooohoooo! :D
    GajoL approves!

    SvaraRadera
  3. Yes!! Finally! This years gift season starts early! Make green great (again!!?)! Really looking forward to the following weeks with pre-christmas-brew! Cheers!

    SvaraRadera
    Svar
    1. Haha, thanks! Green might be getting some more love than blue in this particular set ;)

      Radera
  4. Nice to see you guys still find new things to spice up the format and bring us new twists based on old cardboard we love. Can't await to test ist out. Nice to read that there will be a nc12 as well ;)

    SvaraRadera
  5. This is a really interesting idea! I'm surprised nobody has ever tried this for new school casual games - it seems like an obvious way to play casual Standard with mythological themes but without the most obnoxious devotion cards, and the like. But I suppose it's easier with the smaller old school sets, and the new school crowds seem to be used to looking to Wizards of the Coast for things like that.

    SvaraRadera

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